10 E-Commerce Mistakes Which Every Store Owner Should Avoid

Running an online store is easy but making it a successful one is not everyone’s cup of tea. Here are few common mistakes that most of the online store owners make. Such mistakes kill your sales and put you at risk.

Low-Quality Product Description:

The way you describes your product grabs the customers’ attention to a great extent. Insufficient, poor quality or fake content might lead your customer to switch to some other site. This not only leads to losing your customers but also leads to lack of trust among customers. So, the online store should try hard to showcase an accurate and detailed product description.

Poor Customer Service:

Customer service is a big factor that differentiates you from your competitors. The e-commerce store should enable customer service option wherein a customer can ask a technical question, sales question or something related to the product. This is much more effective than just mentioning an email address. If you don’t have any contact number then a ticketing system is must to have. It should be ensured that the FAQs cover all the questions which customers might ask like- the return policy, order process etc.

Product Image:

It’s very important to show multiple images of the product to the customer especially when they are buying online.

A single product should have multiple images in different colors and from different angles- front, back, sideways. This instills confidence in the customer towards the product and makes them feel good about the product.

Time-consuming Checkout Process:

The checkout process should be easy and hassle free. Asking irrelevant questions during checkout might frustrate the customers. The checkout should be made possible in few clicks. There should be a guest checkout feature for those customers who don’t wish to create their account.

The absence of Mobile Responsive Site:

In this era, where large people prefer to do online shopping via mobile, having no mobile-optimized version of your website can turn out to be the biggest disadvantage. This may probably lead you losing a large number of customers.

Navigation:

Your online site should provide an easy navigation to the customers. A quick, easy and filtered search provides a pleasant experience to the customers.

Lack of Payment Options:

Most of the online stores allow the users to do payment only through Visa or Master card, or PayPal. It’s not possible for every customer to pay via credit card or PayPal. So your site should provide as many payment options as possible.

Not offering the best offer:

Nowadays, customers are smart enough to compare the prices on various online stores, before taking purchase decision. So, it’s better to offer the customer a fair price as compared to your competitors. Ultimately, this will create a win-win situation for the customer as well as for your online store.

Loading Issues:

Slow loading speed of your e-commerce shopping cart has a negative impact on the customers. Moreover, loading time is also an important factor for search engines. Make sure that your online store is built on qualified hosting service.

Not mentioning store policies:

Make sure you clearly mention store policies, return policies to the customers. There should be a separate section in your site for FAQs and store policies.

Takeaways
The above-mentioned mistakes can sabotage your all efforts and hard work. So it’s better to avoid such mistakes by keeping an eye on your store and marketing channels. Strategize your goals in such a way that it brings more traffic and sales for your online store and thus your efforts are paid off.

Your E-Commerce Store – Why Magento Is The Best Option

The Samsung website trusts it. The Nike store is built on this platform. In fact, more than 25% of all e-commerce sites in the world run on this platform which shows its popularity and ever-growing usages. Despite presence of several platforms, Magento continues to be a top draw for brands big and small alike across industry verticals which calls for some analysis. Why developers all over the world love building e-commerce sites using this platform? Well, there could be many reasons but none makes as much sense as its being an open source platform. Which means, anyone could use it for free.

Further, it comes in three different versions where one is free while the others are paid and they are meant for enterprises. It’s free to download and install, and its source code can be tweaked easily to get a perfect website developed. Once the site is developed, anyone can go ahead and install extensions of choice and extend the horizon of the business. Being open source in nature, it has a huge developer community that updates the platform on a regular basis, spots security flaws and ensure a risk-free platform. More so, not all other platforms in the market are as tailor-made for e-commerce as Magento is.

In addition, Magento is a full-fledged e-commerce platform unlike most others that are primarily content management systems with some plugins for e-commerce purpose. What’s more, its core features are perfect to developing e-store of any complexity and layer to help businesses realize their goals with ease. Some of core features include Customer Segmentation, Inventory Management, Product Bundling, Advanced Shipping Management, and Advanced Supplier Management etc. With this platform, businesses have the freedom and option to select their own hosting service to keep the costs down and change the service as and when needed. The platform also gives the facility of adding as many features as possible without spending any money.

With Magento, businesses face no restrictions on adding, displaying or uploading the number of products, services or SKUs. It brings ease of integrating 3rd party apps to add new features into the site thus you are saved the inconvenience and cost attached with coding new feature. With modular technology in use, businesses can modify and plug in templates and layouts of choice and deliver superior front-end experiences to users. In addition, it’s a platform that loads fast and allows easy and swift caching of pages so that users needn’t wait for the product or information to load.

Similarly, Magento is one platform that is built for SEO which means you needn’t sweat over optimization. The best part, it supports development of mobile-friendly websites so that your business continues to benefit from a wider and bigger marketplace on the web. You also get to run more than one website using a common backend system. This is how you can support thousands of products and services at the same time without spending more than what you would expect. So, trust Magento and give a new direction to your business.

4 Categories of Ecommerce

Ecommerce or electronic commerce is transactions or other terms of sale that are performed electronically. This involves purchasing, selling, and exchange of goods or services for the exchange of money using computer networks such as the Internet. Opposing to the popular belief, ecommerce does not only exist on the web. In fact, ecommerce already existed and do well in business-to-business transaction since the 70s via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) through VANs (Value-Added Networks). Ecommerce can be further broken into four main categories B2B, B2C, C2B, and C2C.

• B2B (Business-to-Business)

B2B definitely deals with companies who are doing business with each other. An example of this is manufacturers who are selling their product to distributors, and the wholesalers are selling it to retailers. Thus, the pricing can be based on the number of orders and is frequently up for grabs.

• B2C (Business-to-Consumer)

Business-to-consumer typically involves selling products and services to the general public or consumers through the use of catalogs utilizing shopping cart software. B2B can easily earn a lot of money; on the other hand, B2C is what really in mind in an average customer when it comes to the ecommerce as whole. With the help of ecommerce, you can easily purchase many things at time without having human interaction. An example of these if you are having hard time finding a book, when you need to purchase a customized, high-end computer system, or finding a first class, all-inclusive trip to a tropical paradise island. Thus, ecommerce can help you purchase the products all at the same time.

• C2B (Consumer-to-Business)

An example of C2B is when a consumer posts his projects or assignments in the Internet and web site. The consumer sets a budget online where within hours many companies reviews the requirements needed by the consumer and then bid on the project. It empowers the customers around the globe by providing the meeting ground and platform for that certain transaction.

• C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer)

A very good example for C2C is the eBay. It is where consumers sell their products to other consumers through bidding. Thus, the one who bids the highest can buy the product. Another example is the sites offering free classified ads, auctions, and forums where consumers can buy and sell products to other consumers. They use PayPal as a tool for online payment system where they can send and receive money with ease through online.

There is another form of ecommerce which is the B2E or Business-to-Employee ecommerce. Here, companies are using internal networks to offer their employees products and services online. It may not be necessarily online on the Web.

The other forms of ecommerce are the G2G (Government-to-Government), G2E (Government-to-Employee), G2B (Government-to-Business), B2G (Business-to Government), G2C (Government-to-Citizen), C2G (Citizen-to-Government). These transactions involves mainly with the government, from procurement to filing taxes to business registration to renewing license. There are still plenty of other categories that exist but then they tend to be superfluous.

7 Ecommerce Trends For 2017

Like previous years, 2017 is expected to unfold new eCommerce trends which businesses such as yours can benefit from.

In less than a month, we bid farewell to the year which ushered in an upsurge of mobile shopping, social media campaigns and cloud-based inventory management, among others.

However beneficial new trends are to one’s business, expect a lot of the old ones to continue into the new year.

Here’s a list of tried and tested eCommerce trends which will continue to increase your profits and improve your customers’ user experience.

#1 Social Media Buy Buttons

Sure, you use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites to promote your products.

But have these sites helped increase your conversion rate?

If you answered “not quite”, then you’re probably missing a vital feature on your social media pages.

Customers prefer spoon-feeding to thinking.

They won’t waste their time trying to figure out what you’re selling or how to buy it.

Make all necessary information obvious to them so that all they have to do is tap on their screen or click their mouse.

For example, instead of just connecting your online store to your Facebook page, set up a buy button in the latter.

That way, they can buy an item which they like straightaway without having to go to your store.

#2 Product Videos

If you failed to take advantage of video marketing this year, list it as among your key strategies for 2017.

People are easily drawn to product demonstration videos, as watching them is the closest thing possible to touching a product.

You’ll find a wide range of paid and free recording software on the Web, such as Camtasia, Jing and EZVid to name a few.

Check them out and see which one works for your site.

#3 Mobile Marketing

Mobile commerce or M-commerce will continue its upward trend.

Survey finds over 70% of consumers will shop on a website whose product and checkout pages are easy to navigate on any handheld device.

That explains why your eCommerce site should have a responsive design which works on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.

#4 Mobile Payment

Since a large percentage of online sales are expected to be made through mobile devices, chances are we’ll be seeing more walletless payment schemes.

Apart from smartphones, a lot of online retailers will be receiving contactless payment through various devices that use Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology.

#5 Cloud-based Inventory Management

Keeping count of the items in your inventory to ensure they don’t run out of stock is one of the things that you should be doing on a daily basis.

If you’re not yet into cloud-based inventory management, you should start looking at it for efficient tracking and updating of your inventory.

#6 Same Day Delivery

Amazon and eBay will continue to have same-day delivery in their shipping options, so it’s only logical to echo them.

If you’ve been running your online store for more than a year, you should know by now that the customer is always king; the worst thing you can do to a king is make him wait.

So satisfy him with great service and you’ll be rewarded with not only higher sales, but more loyal customers.

Remember that customers are so good at that cost-free marketing tactic called word of mouth.

#7 Fitting Data Software

Hopefully, more retailers in the footwear and apparel industry will utilise fitting apps or software to reduce their product returns.

The number one reason why customers return stuff which they purchased from your store is wrong size.

With tools like True Fit, you can provide customers information on their actual size based on the current style and size of their footwear or clothes.

Make Your Ecommerce Business Wildly Successful

The ecommerce industry is poised for significant growth in the near future. But, you can only expect to see results if you approach it the right way. The very first step is to develop an ecommerce website with all the relevant features that you would require for your business, for customer interactions and marketing campaigns.

If you are ready to launch your ecommerce business and see it grow into a successful online venture, here are a few tips for you to consider:

Don’t rush the launch

This is one of the biggest pitfalls. Forcing or rushing a launch could be your worst mistake. It’s OK to register a domain name, and put up a ‘coming soon’ page, but the real launch should be planned more carefully. Make sure that you launch only when you have some substantial groundwork done such as search engine optimization, content marketing plan, social media and paid advertisements etc.

Place your focus on the user

Right from the development phases of the website, make sure that the focus in on the user experience. Add every feature that will make it convenient for shoppers to buy from you. Keep the pricing, shipping policy and the return policies transparent. Also, ensure that the check out process is simplified.

Test absolutely everything

Prior to the actual launch, make sure that you test absolutely everything. Invest time and money in testing. It will definitely be worth it in the long term. For a moment think like a customer and figure out what they want and what’s not working.

Work closely with social

Social media is the heartbeat of an ecommerce business. It is extremely important that you include social media features on your ecommerce website so that customers can easily share their recent purchases with their friend and family. Maintain separate social media pages and ensure that you keep it ‘live’ with interactions.

Go mobile

If you aren’t thinking of a mobile strategy for your business, you may soon see the negative impact it has on your customers and your brand as a whole. When all your potential customers are mobile, make sure that you are not missing out on your probable sales by not having a mobile compatible website or a mobile app for your business.

Stay on top of SEO

As more and more ecommerce businesses are launched the competition gets fiercer. It is important to have a clear search engine optimization strategy in place so that you stay at the forefront always. It is important for long term success.

Continue evolving

Finally, it is important to note that you cannot simply launch your website and then step away. You will need to stay on top of things and understand the latest trends and implement them to your advantage.

What Is E-Commerce Web Development?

If you run an online selling business, you may already know that are few things more important to your business transactions than effective e-commerce web development. But for those just starting out, it can be important for them to know how it could benefit their business.

As you may already know, web development is the writing and coding process that goes into the building and customisation of websites. This process is what ultimately will turn your business vision into an online reality, but it is not the same as e-commerce development.

e-commerce development involves this same process, but one that utilises online commercial transactions. Because of this, it requires a larger degree of technical knowledge and ability to pull off – which is why marketing companies who offer this service are so sought-after.

If you’re thinking of building a company site with the aim of selling products online, you may have considered hiring someone to help you to realise your vision. But before you do so, you may want to spend some time researching your options.

It’s important to distinguish between web and e-commerce development, as the latter requires a range of specialised techniques. Because of this, it’s a good idea to specify your needs when looking for a company or person to help you build your selling website.

You will want to consider online payment optimisation, security encryption and shopping cart coding to help you get the best possible results from your new web page. If none of this means anything to you, it’s probably a good idea to call in the experts to help you with your coding.

But there are things to consider. Not only will you need to make sure that the company or individual you hire is fully qualified to build your site, you’ll also want to make sure you’re getting the best possible service for your money.

It’s a good idea to spend some time researching your options before you make a decision about who to hire. This will not only involve comparing a few different quotes, but also taking the time to familiarise yourself with the credentials of your e-commerce developer.

If you’re thinking of hiring an internet marketing company, such as, you will be able to look on their website for customer testimonials, and to view their portfolio of clients.

Look out for companies who use their websites to showcase their previous design projects as this way you’ll get a feel for the kind of approach they take.

You may also want to consider other services if you’re trying to build your web presence – social media management, search engine optimisation or e-mail marketing, for example. These can help increase your online visibility and drive traffic to your site, so are worth investing in further.

Internet marketing companies will be able to offer a vast choice of services, so it’s a good idea to sit down with one of their experts and discuss the unique requirements of your business – as well as sharing your vision with them.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that this kind of development is an acquired skill, and isn’t necessarily something you’re going to get on the cheap. It is, however, a worthy investment of both your time and money as it will ultimately drive your business forward and help increase your profit.

There are of course more affordable options out there, but you will want to make sure you won’t be compromising on quality – your website is really not something you want to skimp on. Spend some time comparing prices online, or ask other people in the business to recommend a skilled developer.

Tips for Mastering the Fundamentals of E-Commerce

There’s a lot to focus on when it comes to running a successful e-commerce business. It’s easy for store owners to get overwhelmed by the various aspects of their website, social media profiles and more. Below are simple explanations of the main things to focus on to increase sales, order values and customer satisfaction.

User experience

Your site’s design is arguably the most important factor in succeeding in the world of e-commerce. Customers simply won’t shop at an online store that’s confusing to use, especially since there are so many other options available to them. Therefore, your site should be easy to read and browse. It should load in seconds, use navigation that’s easy to understand and contain relevant information toward the top of the page.

Design your website to support a great, intuitive user experience.

Designing for the user experience also means your site should make it easy for customers to submit online payments. Accepting a wide variety of payment types allows customers to make purchases according to their preference, and a simple checkout process makes things even easier. Both of these attributes combine to increase your customer’s satisfaction and, as CIO.com noted, can reduce your cart abandonment rates. In a conversation with the website, Kateryna Topopl, senior art director at Architech, mentioned the checkout process is where businesses tend to see the highest number of abandoned carts. This is mainly because they force users to go through too many steps or do not provide convenient options for submitting electronic payments.

Social media

There’s no question that every e-commerce website should have a few social media accounts, but determining the right ones can be tricky. You want to maximize your return on investment, and knowing your product and audience well is the best way to do that. As Practical E-commerce noted, some social sites are better for certain products than others. Pinterest and Instagram are great for lifestyle products like home decor and fashion, while Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent for software and business services.

Another way to incorporate social media is to let shoppers log in to your website using their networking accounts such as Facebook or Google+. This makes the process quick and efficient, and customers don’t have to remember yet another username and password for your website.

Content marketing

While social media is the cherry on top of your marketing sundae, your website’s content is the ice cream that makes up its substance. Great content – blog posts, list articles, white papers and more – keeps people on your website after they’ve clicked through from your social media. In addition, the search engine optimization benefits of certain topics and keywords bring even more people to your online store through Google and Bing.

“Content for e-commerce mixes relevant information with a call-to-action.”

Creating great content for e-commerce is tricky, as CIO.com mentioned in another article. Make it too promotional and you’ll lose customers instead of gaining more. At the same time, the goal of your content is to promote sales. The trick is to mix relevant information with a call-to-action designed to get users to convert. For example, say your website sells kitchenware and you want to promote a line of cast-iron skillets you just added. You can write a blog post filled with tips on properly seasoning and caring for cast-iron cookware, then link readers to the brand in question. What’s more, you can fill the blog post with images of the product so readers can see how it looks and picture themselves with it in the kitchen.

CTAs don’t always have to be sales-oriented. They can direct readers to sign up for your newsletter, follow your business on social media, read more blog posts or increase engagement in other ways.

Fulfillment

Offering customers a great deal on shipping prices keeps your business competitive, especially against e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart. Free shipping in particular leads to increased average order values and possibly higher sales overall, according to a Practical Ecommerce report on the subject. If you can’t provide free shipping for all sales, consider offering it only to customers with orders above a certain price.

While mastering the world of e-commerce isn’t easy, a good handle on the basics helps you grow from a small business to an international e-commerce competitor.

The 12 Days of ECommerce Christmas

Can you believe it’s already November?

Everybody is starting to plan for Christmas and your store will be getting crazy busy handling orders left, right and centre.

When you’re in the thick of things, nothing can be more distressing than realising that the items which your customers are interested in are actually out of stock.

Or that the shipping company which would normally deliver parcels for you could not accommodate you.

To prevent that from happening in the most profitable season of the year, we list 12 things you can do to prepare your eCommerce business for the holidays.

1. Stock up

On the 1st day of eCommerce Christmas, list your bestsellers.

You may also want to look up frequently searched for Christmas gifts on Google Trends.

Once you have figured which products to add to your inventory, meet up with your supplier to discuss the earliest time they could deliver new stocks.

Apart from Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be taken into consideration when planning your inventory as they kick off the holiday shopping season.

2. Create Holiday Banners and Images

On the 2nd day of eCommerce Christmas, get everyone excited for the holidays by posting Christmas-y banners and images on your website.

This triggers anticipation and enthusiasm, which are important factors for increasing customer engagement on your site.

3. Ensure Mobile Efficiency

According to the online retailing association IMRG, more than 50% of UK’s online retail sales in Q4 2015 was made through mobile devices.

That’s an indication that more people are using their tablets and smartphones to shop nowadays.

So on the 3rd day of eCommerce Christmas, test the checkout process on your website using a mobile device to ensure it’s free of any glitches.

4. Offer Great Deals

On the 4th day of eCommerce Christmas, start rolling out great deals and be part of the week-long sales period leading up to Black Friday and continuing until Cyber Monday.

Make sure the deals are staggered throughout the week as this will help you generate incremental sales.

Put a countdown over the items which you want to sell fast as this will help build anticipation among customers. See, everybody wants to be the first to have something.

5. Send Personalised Email and Social Media Messages

On the 5th day of eCommerce Christmas, send out personalised emails announcing your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, holiday coupons, free gift wrapping and other cool offerings.

Set aside your standard email template for the time being, and think up a good subject line to get your email read.

In addition to that, let the community of online shoppers know about your deals on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to name a few.

6. Keep ’em Updated

Shopaholics can’t get enough of extra product information, especially during the holiday season.

The more you dish out, the more you keep them engaged.

On the 6th day of eCommerce Christmas, blog away to keep them posted on your deals, pricing, shipping and other pieces of information that affect their buying decision.

7. Have a Clear Returns Policy

On the 7th day of eCommerce Christmas, be open to the fact that some of your customers could return an item which they purchased from your store.

Having said that, see to it that your product pages have a returns policy which clearly stipulates the conditions on which customers are allowed to return a product.

8. Meet with a Reliable Shipping Company (and get a backup, too)

On the 8th day of eCommerce Christmas, arrange a meeting with a reliable shipping company to discuss your options in relation to your expected levels of parcels and shipping points.

Also, you need to know their shipping deadlines so that you can inform your customers of the dates.

Delivering orders on time is the key to gaining lifelong customers.

However, let us not discount the fact that there are people who would wait until the last shipping date before placing their orders.

It would help to have a backup courier that can readily provide last-minute shipping in case the company you’ve partnered with couldn’t accommodate you.

9. Use Holiday-inspired Packing Supplies

It’s one thing to get your customers’ orders to their doorstep, it’s another thing to do it in pretty boxes.

On the 9th day of eCommerce Christmas, make your customers feel the holiday spirit with Christmas inspired packaging supplies.

You want them in shades of red, green, gold, silver and even blue.

10. Put Customer Support in Place

On the 10th day of eCommerce Christmas, make sure that you are ready to address your customers’ queries and concerns in a timely manner.

You can have someone handle this task for you, or do it yourself if you want to.

Also, the Contact Us page on your website should include the hours that you provide customer support apart from your contact information.

11. Prepare for Boxing Day

On the 11th day of eCommerce Christmas, prepare for Boxing Day!

Just because it’s after Christmas Day, doesn’t mean Boxing Day won’t generate sales for your business anymore.

In fact, the data of IMRG and Experian, a consumer credit reporting agency, shows that online shoppers in the UK spent £856 million in last year’s Boxing Day.

Those figures are expected to get bigger this year, and you sure want to be amongst the businesses that benefit.

12. Staff up

On the 12th day of eCommerce Christmas, be sure an extra pair of hands is handling the high volume of orders coming into your store, and ensuring shipments are made in a timely manner.

Responding to customer queries and listing new products on your website are other tasks which you will definitely need help with in this busy season.

You can either hire someone to perform these tasks or outsource them.